My name is Br. Clay P. Diaz Vlaida, SCJ; I am currently working at St. Joseph Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota. I have been at St. Joe’s since December, 2009, and continue through mid December. This is a part of my pastoral ministry year before starting my studies at Chicago Theological Union in Chicago.
I was working with the high school level students and with the house parents in a support role. My role with the high school students was to tutor them in English, science, history and other courses –– except for math, which is not my specialty. With the house parents I helped them with transportation and in other areas as they arose. I also observed and helped with the Native American class and the computer class at the elementary school.
I have truly enjoyed working with the high school students. Starting in August I will move to the elementary and middle schools, once again tutoring tutoring students.
I enjoy working at St. Joe’s because of the great people both at the homes and in the different academic departments. The atmosphere on the campus is such a unique experience. I have learned a lot about the Native American culture and continue to learn because each day is a new learning experience. I have participated in different events throughout the campus, such as bowling and a 7th grade cultural trip.
I’d be happy to share my experience with others who are interested in learning about the Native American culture. Of course, my experience is that of someone who is new to the culture and to South Dakota, having been in this ministry for only six months.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Br. Clay will be renewing his vows on July 23 (8 a.m.) at St. James Church in Chamberlain, S.D. Fr. Bill Pitcavage, newly elected provincial councilor and pastor of St. James, will receive his renewal. “I am looking forward to renewing my vows with our community,” said Br. Clay. “For me it is a true blessing being a member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.”